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Arrests at AWE Aldermaston as new byelaws come into force

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release

Ten women from the Aldermaston Women Peace Camp(aign) (AWPC) were last night arrested in a blanket action by MOD police just over a week after the introduction of new Bylaws designed to stop the women from their 22 year-long protest against the base which is currently building facilities for the upgrade of the Trident nuclear missile system.

The women were having a meeting when they were arrested at 21:50 on Friday 8 June in what one of them called "a blanket and arbitrary arrest". They were taken to Loddon Valley police station and held overnight. A dog that belonged to two of the women was taken to Reading police station.

All ten women have been charged with two Bylaws offences and banned from a 5-mile radius around AWE Aldermaston. The first alleged offence is that they were camping when they were simply gathered around a controlled fire having a meeting, and the second, unfounded, charge was that they lit a bonfire.

The new Byelaws, which came into effect on 31 May 2007, specifically prohibit camping and lighting open fires. The women maintain that they were doing neither and that theirs was an unjustified arrest as the bylaws were specifically amended, after consultation with AWPC, to allow for meetings. They have all been bailed to appear at Newbury magistrates court on 21 June.

(Your support in court on the day would be greatly appreciated.)

The arrests came as AWPC mounted a judicial review in the High Court against the new bylaws and the women prepared for a celebratory party to mark their 22-year long protest and bearing of witness outside the nuclear weapons factory.

[Note: The birthday cocktail party was relocated to Aldermaston's sister site Burghfield (outside the bail exclusion area) and a very good time was had by all ...see the blog for reports/pix etc.]